Sellers of the Big Issue, a magazine sold by the homeless onhigh streets across the UK, are now able to accept contactless payments cards following successful trials with Sw3edish mPOS vendor iZettle.
Cashless payments now far outweigh cash transactions, with one in five Brits ditching notes and coins entirely, while tapping a card against a reader accounted for 5.6 billion payments last year.
That means Big Issue vendors, working hard for a living across the country, were financially excluded by only accepting cash.
The trial scheme, conducted across five cities in the UK, resulted in cashless payments taking an 80% share of all sales.
In London’s St Paul’s Underground station vendor Hugh Palmer says offering contactless payments has enabled him to “fit back in society”.
The 73-year-old started selling The Big Issue after going bankrupt in 2011 and he believes that offering contactless payments as part of the iZettle trial has given him renewed confidence. “It’s promoting you and people think, ‘Ooh he’s got contactless, he must be OK,’” says Hugh. “You fit back into society; before when it was cash only you would get days when people just didn’t buy the magazine from you.”
With the Big Issue's backing, iZettle is making card readers available to vendors across the country for the reduced price of £9 and offering a a per-transaction fee "significantly lower" than its standard rate of 1.75%.